Whether you are travelling solo, with a partner or in a group, flying to the other side of the world or just having a weekend getaway these hints and tips will help make your holidays as smooth and easy as possible. Being a great traveller will not only make the experience so much better for you, it will also make it so much more enjoyable for everyone around you too.

Before I visit a new destination, I like to do a base layer of research so I have a few ideas of what I would like to do before I arrive. I think it’s important to be prepared, especially when you have limited time in that place. But don’t be too pedantic about sticking to a schedule as that can be really difficult and not so fun – especially if you are travelling in a group. I also always leave myself some time for spontaneity and discovery. Going with the flow is a great trait to have, as you never know where the journey might take you.

On the flip side, keep going with the flow when things go wrong. It could be a delayed flight, a lost passport or an annoying hotel neighbour. Most of these things are out of your control, so try to accept the situation for what it is and work as quickly and effectively to solve the problem without putting a dark cloud over your whole holiday. Letting go of the negativity is liberating, and being calm and in control is such a valuable asset to yourself or your travel group.

Time (especially on holidays) isn’t infinite. Don’t be lazy, and make sure you make the most of the time you do have at each location. Even if you do everything on your list for a particular city, I can guarantee you are still only scratching the surface. Even where I live I am always finding new spots or things to do. You never know when you might be visiting again, so try to get the most you can out of every destination.

Don’t be afraid to step outside the box and consider doing things that you didn’t plan. You might have an amazing time and discover a whole new side to yourself. Also, be willing to step out on your own and do something you really wanted to. Divide and concur when necessary.

Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for advice on what to do, where to go or what to eat. They live there after all and can be an invaluable source of finding local treasures. You never know, their favourite thing to do might end up being your favourite thing to do. I also love asking my friends or friends of friends for their travel tips if they have been to a certain place.

Enjoy the moment and get off your phone. I wait for a quiet time just before bed to jump online for a quick checkup, don’t get in the habit of being online all through the day, you will miss too much. If you feel like you have FOMO from what everyone else is doing you need a lesson on how to have more fun on holidays.

Whenever I travel I love using a physical map. Usually at home, I would GPS my way around if I don’t know the directions, but I always find it such a fun novelty using a map ‘just like the old days’ when abroad. Plus, it means I’m not dependant on the battery of my phone. It is great to use apps and digital maps, but it is also great to know how to go without.

Take a leaf out of an old school way of communicating and write some postcards home. Yes, the mail service can be slow and some may not even make it back home at all. But, there is nothing nicer than the sentiment of a handwritten postcard to loved ones at home.

I have three main things I liked to be prepared with before I land at my destination: money, etiquette know how and language. Before landing, I always like to have my travel money cards preloaded with local currency, my regular bank cards and some cash for little things or emergencies.

Etiquette is so important when travelling as every culture has different customs and expectations. For services, it can be equally expected as it is offensive to leave a tip. Make sure you do a quick Google search to check how the locals do it. You’ll feel more comfortable and won’t get yourself into an awkward situation.

Although a lot of countries consider English to be a universal language, it is always a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in the local tongue. I am terrible at pronunciation, but I always have a good time learning something new, and after a couple of days, I have mastered it. I recommend starting with words such as “hello”, “thank you” and “goodbye” to get you started.

No matter where you go, there will always be people who will try and take advantage of you while you are out of your comfort zone or not as savvy as the locals. Keep yourself and your friend’s safe by making sure you aren’t a weak target. Always have your bags closed and secure, especially when moving through large crowds and simply be aware of your surroundings. Trust your instincts.

Whenever I travel I always take travel insurance with me. Covering everything from your luggage to your valuables and in a worst-case scenario if you need to take a trip to the hospital. If something bad was to happen you don’t want to get stuck with a large bill that will be the negative cherry on top of a bad experience.